Ivan Ann, Singapore - London - Singapore: Trusting in God's Best
I met Ivan in London. We went to the same church. I like Ivan because he’s got a distinct laugh, he’s an awesome listener and he gives tell-it-like-it-is advice. It’s concise and he won’t sugar coat anything. You can always tell the character of a person by the things people say about them and if people like being around them. In London everyone liked Ivan. But two things drew my attention to Ivan. One- was his testimony, an awesome one. I was drawn to how he handled himself in certain life situations and how he reacted with incredible grace in the face of adversity and challenge.
Two, that he, like I love London. But, God had completely different plans for Ivan after LSE. I like Ivan tried with all I had to return. But God with His awesome plans had something better for Ivan at this stage in his life. Instead of returning to the land of fish and chips & a Queen- God directed Ivan to Bible school in his native Singapore. And now he’s a teacher, empowering young boys in Singapore’s educational system.
One thing that I’ve learned from Ivan- especially that I too can relate to a love for London- is that though we may love a thing, we must surrender our desires to God and seek Him on what He wants us to do. His plan is always better.
This is teacher who is leading and empowering Singapore’s youth:
Seele Magazine: What does it mean to be Singaporean?
IA: Being Singaporean, for me, is where I know I can speak Singlish - a form of English, which mixes mandarin dialects and the Malay language together into one and I can still be understood. And, where I know a wide variety of food is available almost any where
SM: God's plan is always best. In life, when you've deeply desired something- like your desire to return to London after uni to work- but God has other plans, how would you say it is the best way to deal with the initial disappointment?
IA: I was devastated when I could not stay in London to work and settle down but as Jeremiah 29:11 says, God still has plans to prosper us, so I had to believe that in my heart, despite the let down. I remembered spending over £2800 just to fly back and forth from Singapore to London for interviews with just 2 companies, only to find out that I was rejected for both. Besides spending the entire flight time back to Singapore, listening to emotional Taylor Swift songs, I decided to let it go and walk by faith. I bit the bullet and gave my future to the Lord, and let Him take me from where I was to where He wanted me to be. That also meant some planning to find a job in Singapore, deciding what to do whilst looking for a job.
In life, after doing what I can do, the rest is up to God to do His thing for me. In order to do this there must be a kind of partnership, a surrender in this- to Trust Him with whatever you’ve got left.
SM: You went to Bible school before you became a teacher in Singapore. What is one thing that you took away from your education there?
IA: While looking for a job I went to Bible school. I learnt how to preach effectively and I gained deeper insights about the Bible. I also went to Indonesia on a Mission trip to practice what I learnt. It was a time of humbling and spiritual awakening for me as I ministered to Indonesians in the rural villages. I am again humbled by the happiness and joy that the people had, despite their lack of material comfort, technology and wealth. 4). Now you're a teacher. What is one thing that youths need in this day and age?
Youths today need discipleship and to hear and know God's Word. They need spiritual guidance and to be mentored in Godliness. The world is so full of distractions, colorful advertisements and social media that are screaming for our youth’s attention. We have to constantly fight for their focus.
SM: What would you tell your 20 year old self?
IA: Everything will be all right. It may take a while but don't worry. Don't be passive and keep pressing on!
SM: What Bible verse do you go to in times of challenge?
IA: Jeremiah 29:11
SM: When you hear the name Jesus what comes to mind?
IA: Salvation, Friend, Father, Love Unfailing, Prince of Peace, King of Righteousness